Altered interaction between cardiac vagal influence and delta sleep EEG suggests an altered neuroplasticity in patients suffering from major depressive disorder

F Jurysta, C Kempenaers, J Lancini, J-P Lanquart, P van de Borne, P Linkowski
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica 2010, 121 (3): 236-9

OBJECTIVE: Major depressive disorder (MDD), which is associated with altered neuroplasticity and increased relative cardiac sympathic activity, enhances the risk of cardiovascular pathologies. Interaction between cardiac sympatho-vagal indexes and delta sleep power is probably altered in MDD.

METHOD: Sleep characteristics and cardiac sympatho-vagal indexes of 10 depressive patients were compared to 10 control men across the first three non-rapid eye movement (NREM)-REM cycles. Interaction between normalized high frequency (HF) and delta power bands was studied using coherence analysis.

RESULTS: Patients showed increased sleep latency, stage 1 and wake durations. No differences in heart rate variabilities were observed: Total power, HF and RR-interval decreased from NREM to REM sleep and wakefulness in both groups. Gain value was lower in patients while coherence and phase shift were similar between groups. Modifications in HF appear 8 min before modifications in delta.

CONCLUSION: Major depressive disorder is related to an altered link between cardiac vagal influence and delta sleep, suggesting disorders in cardiovascular controls and an altered neuroplasticity.

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